Emotional Fitness

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10 Tools for Restarting Your Life

Start small and don’t put too much pressure on yourself
For many, finding their way through the next year will feel like starting over. Not a completely horrible prospect, but the workload can be daunting. Here are some tips to help you create some new beginnings and make your life a little more emotionally fit in the process.
  1. Starting over is not the same as recouping from a failure. It is a new beginning, and you have gained experience and knowledge to help you reach your goals. Reignite your passion by imagining what it will feel like when you achieve the desired result.
  2. Moving through life is like climbing stairs. You go up a step or two, and then you level off and you may go down a step, but you are still higher than you were. That’s the process of life (and therapy) nothing is ever a straight shot. Have some patience with yourself and with your newfound direction.
  3. You can create a whole new life if you want it. You just have to approach it in the right way. Sometimes little ideas can turn into big things. Visualize a positive outcome for your issue. Medical doctors recommend visualization to patients with chronic and potentially fatal illnesses. If it can help them, it can do the same for you. 
  4. Endings are not necessarily bad things. Even if you lost your job, savings or home, what comes to you in the future may be better than what you had. Sometimes the phoenix has to burn, so it can rise again.
  5. Starting over may feel scary, but it can be a cause for celebration. Think of it as exciting, and many of your anxious feelings will begin to fade. The truth is that anxiety and excitement feel exactly the same to the body. It’s our minds that make it scary versus exhilarating.
  6. Remember that your future is not governed by your past. No matter what has happened in your life, you can find a way to make things a little better for yourself, and hopefully for those around you as well.
  7. Having to start over is different from choosing to start over. For many whose lives are still in chaos because of the trying times we are in, starting over is not a choice. It can be hard to accept support from others. If you find it difficult to take that in, just promise yourself that you will return the favor and do something to “pay it forward” as soon as possible.
  8. Healthy alternatives to negative lifestyle patterns abound. If you can’t stop a bad habit, start by cutting back. It’s okay to give yourself a little time to moderate or stop something that’s hurting you.
  9. Starting over is about creating and reaching new goals. We are happiest when we’re moving toward a goal. It’s not all about the end result, in fact when you do achieve a dream you must find a new one as soon as possible in order to stay emotionally fit. Think about it this way, you can either be green and growing or ripe and rotting. Which do you prefer?
  10. Starting over is about giving yourself a chance at real happiness. You will have to be brave and get good at learning new things, but how bad can that be? At the very worst, you will acquire the skills you need to start on the next project. 

Finding ways to begin anew will give you energy. The excitement of moving toward what you want will also bring you happiness. Just start small and don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you’ll get there sooner than you think.

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Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, columnist, and radio host. His latest book is The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.

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